June 2002 NREL/TP

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1 June 2002 NREL/TP Lignocellulosic Biomass to Ethanol Process Design and Economics Utilizing Co-Current Dilute Acid Prehydrolysis and Enzymatic Hydrolysis for Corn Stover A. Aden, M. Ruth, K. Ibsen, J. Jechura, K. Neeves, J. Sheehan, and B. Wallace National Renewable Energy Laboratory L. Montague, A. Slayton, and J. Lukas Harris Group Seattle, Washington National Renewable Energy Laboratory 1617 Cole Boulevard Golden, Colorado NREL is a U.S. Department of Energy Laboratory Operated by Midwest Research Institute Battelle Bechtel Contract No. DE-AC36-99-GO10337

2 June 2002 NREL/TP Lignocellulosic Biomass to Ethanol Process Design and Economics Utilizing Co-Current Dilute Acid Prehydrolysis and Enzymatic Hydrolysis for Corn Stover A. Aden, M. Ruth, K. Ibsen, J. Jechura, K. Neeves, J. Sheehan, and B. Wallace National Renewable Energy Laboratory L. Montague, A. Slayton, and J. Lukas Harris Group Seattle, Washington Prepared under Task No. BFP2.A410 National Renewable Energy Laboratory 1617 Cole Boulevard Golden, Colorado NREL is a U.S. Department of Energy Laboratory Operated by Midwest Research Institute Battelle Bechtel Contract No. DE-AC36-99-GO10337

3 NOTICE This report was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an agency of the United States government. Neither the United States government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States government or any agency thereof. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States government or any agency thereof. Available electronically at Available for a processing fee to U.S. Department of Energy and its contractors, in paper, from: U.S. Department of Energy Office of Scientific and Technical Information P.O. Box 62 Oak Ridge, TN phone: fax: Available for sale to the public, in paper, from: U.S. Department of Commerce National Technical Information Service 5285 Port Royal Road Springfield, VA phone: fax: online ordering: Printed on paper containing at least 50% wastepaper, including 20% postconsumer waste

4 Abstract The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is promoting the development of ethanol from lignocellulosic feedstocks as an alternative to conventional petroleum-based transportation fuels. DOE funds both fundamental and applied research in this area and needs a method for predicting cost benefits of many research proposals. To that end, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has modeled many potential process designs and estimated the economics of each process during the last 20 years. This report is an update of the ongoing process design and economic analyses at NREL. We envision updating this process design report at regular intervals; the purpose being to ensure that the process design incorporates all new data from NREL research, DOE funded research and other sources, and that the equipment costs are reasonable and consistent with good engineering practice for plants of this type. For the non-research areas this means using equipment and process approaches as they are currently used in industrial applications. For the last report 1, published in 1999, NREL performed a complete review and update of the process design and economic model for the biomass-to-ethanol process utilizing co-current dilute acid prehydrolysis with simultaneous saccharification (enzymatic) and co-fermentation. The process design included the core technologies being researched by the DOE: prehydrolysis, simultaneous saccharification and co-fermentation, and cellulase enzyme production. In addition, all ancillary areas feed handling, product recovery and purification, wastewater treatment (WWT), lignin combustor and boiler-turbogenerator, and utilities were included. NREL engaged Delta-T Corporation (Delta-T) to assist in the process design evaluation, the process equipment costing, and overall plant integration. The process design and costing for the lignin combustor and boiler turbogenerator was reviewed by Reaction Engineering Inc. (REI) and Merrick & Company reviewed the wastewater treatment. Since then, NREL has engaged Harris Group (Harris) to perform vendor testing, process design, and costing of critical equipment identified during earlier work. This included solid/liquid separation and pretreatment reactor design and costing. Corn stover handling was also investigated to support DOE s decision to focus on corn stover as a feedstock for lignocellulosic ethanol. Working with Harris, process design and costing for these areas were improved through vendor designs, costing, and vendor testing in some cases. In addition to this work, enzyme costs were adjusted to reflect collaborative work between NREL and enzyme manufacturers (Genencor International and Novozymes Biotech) to provide a delivered enzyme for lignocellulosic feedstocks. This report is the culmination of our work and represents an updated process design and cost basis for the process using a corn stover feedstock. The process design and economic model are useful for predicting the cost benefits of proposed research. Proposed research results can be translated into modifications of the process design, and the economic impact can be assessed. This allows DOE, NREL, and other researchers to set priorities on future research with an understanding of potential reductions to the ethanol production cost. To be economically viable, ethanol production costs must be below market values for ethanol. DOE has chosen a target ethanol selling price of $1.07 per gallon as a goal for The conceptual design and costs presented here are based on a 2010 plant start-up date. The key research targets required to achieve this design and the $1.07 value are discussed in the report. i

5 Table of Contents I. Introduction...1 I.1 Approach...3 I.2 Process Overview...5 I.3 Plant Size...7 I.3.1 Effect of Plant Size on Collection Distance...7 I.3.2 Estimating Corn Stover Costs Today...10 I.3.3 Effect of Distance on Stover Cost...11 I.3.4 Cost of Ethanol as a Function of Plant Size...12 I.3.5 Selecting the Right Plant Size...15 I.4 Feedstock and its Composition...16 II. Processing Design and Cost Estimating...18 II.1 Feedstock Storage and Handling Area 100 (PFD-P110-A101)...18 II.1.1 Overview...18 II.1.2 Design Basis...18 II.1.3 Cost Estimation...20 II.2 Pretreatment and Hydrolyzate Conditioning Area 200 (PFD-P110-A201-3)...20 II.2.1 Overview...20 II.2.2 Design Basis...22 II.2.3 Cost Estimation...24 II.2.4 Achieving the Design Case...26 II.3 Saccharification and Co-Fermentation Area 300 (PFD-P110-A301-2)...27 II.3.1 Overview...27 II.3.2 Design Basis...28 II.3.3 Cost Estimation...33 II.3.4 Achieving the Design Case Targets...34 II.4 Cellulase Enzyme...36 II.5 Product, Solids, and Water Recovery (Distillation, Dehydration, Evaporation, and Solid-Liquid Separation) Area 500 (PFD-P110-A501-5)...36 II.5.1 Overview...36 II.5.2 Design Basis Description...38 II.5.3 Cost Estimation...39 II.6 Wastewater Treatment Area 600 (PFD-110-A601-2)...40 II.6.1 Overview...40 II.6.2 Design Basis...42 II.6.3 Cost Estimation...44 II.7 Product and Feed Chemical Storage Area 700 (PFD-P110-A701)...45 II.7.1 Overview...45 II.7.2 Design Basis...45 II.7.3 Cost Estimation...46 II.8 Combustor, Boiler, and Turbogenerator Area 800 (PFD-P110-A801-3)...46 II.8.1 Overview...46 II.8.2 Design Basis...47 II.8.3 Cost Estimation...49 II.9 Utilities Area 900 (PFD-P110-A901-3)...50 ii

6 II.9.1 Overview...50 II.9.2 Design Basis...50 II.9.3 Cost Estimation...52 II.10 Water and Carbon Balances and Energy Analysis...52 II.10.1 Water Balance...52 II.10.2 Carbon Balance...53 II.10.3 Energy Analysis...56 III. Process Economics...60 III.1 Analysis Procedure...60 III.1.1 Total Project Investment...60 III.1.2 Variable Operating Costs...64 III.1.3 Fixed Operating Costs...65 III.1.4 Discounted Cash Flow Analysis and the Selling Cost of Ethanol...66 III.1.5 The Cost of Sugar...71 IV. Sensitivity Analysis...72 IV.1 Stover Composition, Cost, and Handling...72 IV.2 Pretreatment Yields and Cost...73 IV.3 Gypsum...73 IV.4 Saccharification and Fermentation Yields and Cost...74 IV.5 Energy Production...77 IV.6 Monte Carlo Analysis...78 IV.6.1 Overview...78 IV.6.2 Parameter Estimates...79 IV.6.3 Results...80 V. Planned Improvements and Extensions to the Model...82 V.1 Water Balance and Optimization...82 V.2 Fermentation ph Control...82 V.3 Air Emissions...82 V.4 Greenhouse Gas Emissions...82 V.5 Lignin Gasification and Gas Turbine Power Generation...83 V.6 Physical Properties of Corn Stover...83 References and Notes...83 Appendix A NREL Biofuels Process Design Database Description and Summary Appendix B Individual Equipment Costs Summary Appendix C Chemical Costs and Sources Appendix D Discounted Cash Flow Rate of Return Summary Appendix E Process Parameters Appendix F Process Flow Diagrams (PFDs) Appendix G Changes from the 1999 Design Report Appendix H Chemical Formulas for Biomass Compounds Appendix I Physical Property Model and Parameters for Distillation iii

7 Figures Figure 1. Figure 2. Figure 3. Figure 4. Figure 5. Figure 6. Figure 7. Figure 8. Figure 9. Figure 10. Figure 11. Figure 12. Figure 13. Figure 14. Figure 15. Figure 16. Figure 17. Figure 18. Figure 19. Figure 20. Figure 21. Figure 22. Figure 23. Figure 24. NREL s Approach to Process Design and Economic Analysis...3 Overall Process, PFD-P100-A GIS Model Results Showing the Location of MT/d Ethanol Plants in Iowa...8 The Effect of Plant Size on Collection Distance...9 Typical Breakdown of Corn Stover Costs...10 Hauling Charges for Corn Stover as a Function of Distance...12 Ethanol Cost as a Function of Plant Size for 10% Availability of Corn Acres...13 Ethanol Price as a Function of Plant Size and Percentage of Available Acres...14 Ethanol Price as a Function of Plant Size and Hauling Cost ($/ton-mile)...15 Pretreatment Process Area Overview, PFD-P100-A Corrosion Resistance of Incoloy Distillation System Overview, PFD-P110-A Wastewater Treatment (WWT) Process Overview, PFD-P110-A Process Carbon Balance...55 Process Energy Analysis Based on Higher Heating Value of Biomass Feed58 CFBC/Turbogenerator Energy Balance...60 Effect of Varying IRR and Equity on Minimum Ethanol Selling Price...67 Cost Contribution Details from Each Process Area...71 SSF Yields for Multiple Enzyme Loadings...75 MESPs for Multiple Enzyme Loadings...76 MESPs for Multiple Residence Times...76 Histogram of the Minimum Ethanol Selling Price...80 Probability Curve of the Minimum Ethanol Selling Price...81 Histogram of the Total Project Investment...81 iv

8 Tables Table 1. Table 2. Table 3. Table 4. Table 5. Table 6. Table 7. Table 8. Table 9. Table 10. Table 11. Table 12. Table 13. Table 14. Table 15. Table 16. Table 17. Table 18. Table 19. Table 20. Table 21. Table 22. Table 23. Table 24. Table 25. Table 26. Table 27. Table 28. Table 29. Table 30. Table 31. Table 32. Table 33. Table 34. Table 35. Table 36. Table 37. Table 38. Table 39. Table 40. Feedstock Composition...16 Measured Stover Composition Ranges...17 Pretreatment Hydrolyzer Conditions...22 Pretreatment Hydrolyzer Reactions and Conversions...23 Experimental Pretreatment Reactor Conditions...26 Experimental Pretreatment Hydrolyzer Reactions and Conversions...26 Saccharification Conditions...29 Saccharification Reactions and Conversions...29 Seed Train Specifications...30 Seed Train Reactions and Conversions...31 Co-Fermentation Conditions...32 Co-Fermentation Reactions and Conversions...32 Co-Fermentation Contamination Loss Reactions...33 Experimental Saccharification Conditions...34 Experimental Saccharification Reactions and Conversions...34 Experimental Co-Fermentation Conditions...35 Experimental Co-Fermentation Reactions and Conversions...35 Comparison of Sending Evaporator Syrup to the Combustor or WWT...44 Boiler Costs...49 Ethanol Plant Overall Water Balance...53 Ethanol Plant Overall Carbon Balance...54 Feed Stream Carbon Composition...56 Ethanol Plant Overall Energy Analysis...57 Feed Stream Energy Analysis...59 Installation Factors...62 Chemical Engineering Purchased Equipment Index...62 Additional Cost Factors for Determining Total Project Investment...63 Total Installed Equipment Costs...63 Total Project Investment (TPI)...64 Variable Operating Costs...64 Inorganic Chemical Index...65 Fixed Operating Costs...66 Labor Index...66 Construction Activities and Cash Flow...69 Discounted Cash Flow Parameters...70 Summary of Yields, Rates and Conversion Costs...70 Mixed Sugar Stream Concentration from Saccharification...72 Effect of Pretreatment Yields on Minimum Ethanol Selling Price...73 Summary of Sensitivity Results by Cost Impact...78 Input Parameter Distribution for Monte Carlo Analysis...79 v

9 Acronyms ABB ACFM ASPEN ANSI API BFW B/MAP BOD BTU CFBC CFM CIP COD CS CSL CW DAP DB DOE EIA EPA EtOH FPU FWE GDS GIS GPM HHV HMF IFPU IGCC IRR IRS LHV MACRS MESP MM MT NREL NSPS ORNL P&ID PDU ABB Power Generation Systems Actual Cubic Feet per Minute Advanced Simulator for Process Engineering American National Standards Institute American Petroleum Institute Boiler Feed Water Biomass AgriProducts Biochemical Oxygen Demand British Thermal Unit Circulating Fluidized Bed Combustor Cubic Feet per Minute Clean-in-place Chemical Oxygen Demand Carbon Steel Corn Steep Liquor Cooling Water Diammonium Phosphate Declining Balance U.S. Department of Energy Energy Information Administration Environmental Protection Agency Ethanol Filter Paper Units Foster Wheeler Energy General Depreciation System Geographic Information System Gallons per minute Higher Heating Value Hydroxymethyl Furfural International Filter Paper Units (see FPU) Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle Internal Rate of Return Internal Revenue Service Lower Heating Value (IRS) Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System Minimum Ethanol Selling Price Million Metric Ton National Renewable Energy Laboratory New Source Performance Standards Oak Ridge National Laboratory Piping and Instrument Diagram Process Development Unit vi

10 PFD Process Flow Diagram REI Reaction Engineering, Inc. SCFM Standard Cubic Feet per Minute SS Stainless Steel SSCF Simultaneous Saccharification and Co-Fermentation ST Short Ton TPI Total Project Investment VOC Volatile Organic Compound WWT Wastewater Treatment vii

11 I. Introduction The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is promoting the development of ethanol from lignocellulosic feedstocks as an alternative to conventional petroleum transportation fuels. Programs being sponsored by DOE range from fundamental and applied research for developing better cellulose hydrolysis enzymes and ethanol-fermenting organisms, to engineering studies of potential processes, to co-funding initial biomass-to-ethanol demonstration and production facilities. This research is being conducted by various national laboratories, including the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), as well as by universities and private industry. Engineering and construction companies and operating companies are generally conducting the engineering work. There are two primary reasons for NREL to investigate the complete process design and economics of lignocellulosic ethanol plants. First, this effort helps to direct research by developing a benchmarking case for the current conceptual process design. Once the benchmark case is developed, the proposed research and its anticipated results are translated into a new design, the economics (the anticipated results of proposed research) are determined, and this new information is compared to the benchmark case. Following this process for several proposed research projects allows DOE to make funding decisions based on which projects have the greatest potential to lower the cost of ethanol production. Complete process design and economics are required for such studies because a new proposal in one research area may have a large effect on another process area that is not generally part of the research program, such as product recovery or waste treatment. The impact on other areas of the process can have a significant impact on the economics of the proposed research. Second, this investigation allows us to develop an absolute cost of the production of ethanol based on process and plant design assumptions. In reviewing and establishing research directions, only relative cost differences are important. However, to be able to compare the economics of ethanol with other fuels, the absolute cost is required. An absolute cost is also needed to study the potential ethanol market penetration of the lignocellulosic biomass to ethanol process. Thus, we are making the best possible attempt to develop cost estimates that are consistent with applicable engineering, construction, and operating practices for facilities of this type. To do so, the complete process, including newly researched areas and industry-available process components must be designed and their costs determined. For the current level of design knowledge, we consider the capital cost estimate to be at the conceptual level. To improve the plant cost estimates that affect the absolute cost of ethanol production, NREL contracts with companies such as Harris Group (Harris) and Delta-T Corporation (Delta-T) to assist in preparing, reviewing, and estimating costs for the process designs. Delta-T worked with NREL process engineers in to review all the process design and equipment costs (with the exclusion of wastewater treatment and the combustor-boiler system, which were reviewed by Merrick Engineering 2 and Reaction Engineering, Inc. 3 [REI], respectively). At the conclusion of these efforts, the first design report was published 1. As a result of the NREL/Delta-T work, several areas were identified that required more extensive study. Therefore, NREL worked with Harris to perform vendor testing, corrosion testing, process design, and costing of critical equipment identified from the earlier work. This included solid/liquid separation equipment and pretreatment reactors. Corn stover handling was also investigated to support DOE s decision to focus on stover in its efforts to commercialize lignocellulosic ethanol. Working with Harris, process design and costing for these areas was 1

12 improved. At the same time, DOE partnered with the two largest enzyme manufacturers in the world (Genencor International and Novozymes Biotech) to reduce the cost of cellulase enzymes by a factor of 10. It is assumed that these companies will produce the enzymes and sell them to ethanol producers. Therefore, the ethanol plant will no longer be responsible for enzyme production but will purchase them from off-site. This report is the culmination of this work and represents an updated process design and cost basis for the process using a corn stover feedstock. To be economically viable, ethanol production costs must be below market values for ethanol. DOE has chosen a target ethanol selling price of $1.07 per gallon as a goal for The conceptual design and costs presented here are based on a 2010 plant start-up date. The key research targets required to achieve this design and the $1.07 value are discussed in the report. We envision that this conceptual process design will be updated via an on-going process, and that reports will be released at regular intervals. The purpose is to ensure that the process design incorporates all new data from NREL research, DOE funded research and other sources, and that the equipment costs are reasonable and consistent with good engineering practice for plants of this type. For the non-research areas this means using equipment and process approaches as they are currently being used in industrial applications. 2

13 I.1 Approach Developing a model that describes the chemical conversion process and its economics requires information from many different arenas. Figure 1 describes the approach used here for modeling the conversion of biomass to ethanol. Process Flow Diagrams Engineering Co. Consulting on Process Configuration DOE/NREL Sponsored Research Results Rigorous Material & Energy Balance ASPEN Plus Software Estimates of Other Commercial Technology Outside Engineering Studies, e.g., Feed Handling, Separations ICARUS Cost Estimation Software Capital & Project Cost Estimation Vendor Equipment Cost Quotations Engineering Co. Cost Estimations Discounted Cash Flow Economic Model Minimum Ethanol Selling Price Figure 1. NREL's Approach to Process Design and Economic Analysis The first step to any conceptual process design is to develop a set of process flow diagrams (PFDs). Appendix F contains the PFDs developed for this study. Using the arrangement of the equipment shown, a mass and energy balance was developed within an ASPEN Plus 4 model. This model consists of 164 unit operation blocks, 457 streams (247 material and 210 heat or work), 63 components, and 82 control blocks. The overall model is thermodynamically rigorous and uses physical properties that are included in the ASPEN modeling software as well as property data developed at NREL 5. The individual unit models are thermodynamically consistent and can be either rigorous (for example, the simulation of the distillation) or simple. The reactors could be modeled with kinetic expressions, but because of the level of development of the 3

14 experimental data, they were modeled as experimentally determined conversions of specific reactions. The chemical formulas for atypical compounds (not included in the ASPEN modeling software) are listed in Appendix H. This type of model still satisfies the rigorous mass and energy balance. Other unit operations, such as liquid-solid separations, are typically modeled with fixed solids removal and liquid retention (in the solids stream) data from vendor tests. Using the PFDs and the mass and energy balance information from the ASPEN model, we developed specifications for each piece of equipment. The equipment specifications (and cost estimate) are detailed in the NREL process database (see Appendix A). Finally, within each equipment specification, we developed individual purchased equipment and installation costs. Equipment costs were obtained from vendor quotations when possible, especially for uncommon equipment such as pretreatment reactors. These costs reflect the base case for which the equipment was designed. If process changes are made and the equipment size changes, the equipment is not generally re-costed in detail. Using the following exponential scaling expression, the cost was determined by scaling based on the new size or other valid size related characteristic. New Size * exp New Cost = Original Cost Original Size * * or characteristic linearly related to the size If the size of the equipment is known to change linearly with the inlet flow, that information can be used for scaling. Another characteristic of the size might be the heat duty for a heat exchanger if the log-mean temperature difference is known not to change. Generally these related characteristics are easier to calculate and give the same result as resizing the equipment each time. For some equipment, nothing can be easily related to the size, so it must be resized with each process change. Heat exchangers with varying temperature profiles are one example. In this case, the heat exchanger area is calculated each time the model is run and the cost is scaled using the ratio of the new and original areas. The scaling exponent (exp) was obtained from vendor quotes (if two quotes at different sizes were obtained), Harris, or from a standard reference, such as Garrett. 6 The installation costs were primarily taken from Delta-T s experience and are explained in more detail in the process economics section (Section III). Once the scaled, installed equipment costs were determined, we applied overhead and contingency factors to determine a total plant investment cost. That cost, along with the plant operating expenses (generally developed from the ASPEN model) was used in a discounted cash flow analysis to determine the cost of ethanol production, using a set discount rate. For the analysis done here, the ethanol production cost is the primary value used to compare designs. Development of alternative designs is very useful in evaluating research proposals. Scenarios, based on technologies that might be developed after several years of research, are translated to process designs and the cost of ethanol production is evaluated. These projections are only as good as the estimation of the future technology developments. Even though one aim of this work was to develop the absolute cost of ethanol for comparison to other fuels, it should be noted that ethanol and possibly electricity are the only products of these conceptual process designs. It is likely that smaller volume, niche products will emerge, such as products from the biomass-derived sugars that will have a significantly higher profit margin than 4

15 fuel-grade ethanol. When these other products and their selling prices are figured into the analysis, the cost of ethanol may decrease, just as the cost of gasoline is reduced by the sale of other petroleum refinery products. Likewise, co-location with existing producers of ethanol, power, or some other equally synergistic product slate will likely reduce the cost of ethanol. I.2 Process Overview The process being analyzed here can be described as using co-current dilute acid prehydrolysis of the lignocellulosic biomass with enzymatic saccharification of the remaining cellulose and cofermentation of the resulting glucose and xylose to ethanol. The process design also includes feedstock handling and storage, product purification, wastewater treatment, lignin combustion, product storage, and all other required utilities. In all, the process is divided into eight areas (see Figure 2). The feedstock, in this case corn stover (comprised of stalks, leaves, cobs, and husks), is delivered to the feed handling area (A100) for storage and size reduction. From there the biomass is conveyed to pretreatment and detoxification (A200). In this area, the biomass is treated with dilute sulfuric acid catalyst at a high temperature for a short time, liberating the hemicellulose sugars and other compounds. Separation with washing removes the acid from the solids for neutralization. Overliming is required to remove compounds liberated in the pretreatment that are toxic to the fermenting organism. Detoxification is applied only to the liquid portion of the hydrolysis stream. Enzymatic hydrolysis (or saccharification) coupled with co-fermentation (A300) of the detoxified hydrolyzate slurry is carried out in continuous hydrolysis tanks and anaerobic fermentation tanks in series. A purchased cellulase enzyme preparation is added to the hydrolyzate in the hydrolysis tanks that are maintained at a temperature to optimize the enzyme s activity. The fermenting organism Zymomonas mobilis is first grown in a series of progressively larger batch anaerobic fermentations to make enough cells to inoculate the main fermenters. The inoculum, along with other nutrients, is added to the first ethanol fermenter along with the partially saccharified slurry at a reduced temperature. The cellulose will continue to be hydrolyzed, although at a slower rate, at the lower temperature. After several days of separate and combined saccharification and cofermentation, most of the cellulose and xylose will have been converted to ethanol. The resulting beer is sent to product recovery. Product recovery (A500) involves distilling the beer to separate the ethanol from the water and residual solids. A mixture of nearly azeotropic water and ethanol is purified to pure ethanol using vapor-phase molecular sieve. Solids from the distillation bottoms are separated and sent to the boiler. Concentration of the distillation bottoms liquid is performed by evaporation, using waste heat. The evaporated condensate is returned to the process and the concentrated syrup is sent to the combustor. Part of the evaporator condensate, along with other wastewater, is treated by anaerobic and aerobic digestion (A600). The biogas (high in methane) from anaerobic digestion is sent to the combustor for energy recovery. The treated water is suitable for recycling and is returned to the process. The solids from distillation, the concentrated syrup from the evaporator, and biogas from anaerobic digestion are combusted in a fluidized bed combustor (A800) to produce high-pressure steam for electricity production and process heat. The majority of the process steam demand is in the pretreatment reactor and distillation areas. Generally, the process produces excess steam that is converted to electricity for use in the plant and for sale to the grid. 5

16 Figure 2. Overall Process, PFD-P110-A000 6

17 I.3 Plant Size In establishing the appropriate size of a plant, we must consider the effects of a number of tradeoffs. Savings resulting from economies of scale (see discussion in section I.1) are offset by increased costs for feedstock transportation. Put quite simply, the more feedstock a plant demands, the farther out it must go to get it. Collection distance for a plant is highly site specific, but a simple analysis can be done to understand the range of plant sizes for which overall costs and the impact of feedstock transport are minimal. This requires understanding both the cost of feedstock transportation and the effect of plant size on capital and fixed operating costs for the ethanol plant. On average, in the process industries, capital cost for equipment increases as a function of size or throughput according to the power law equation shown in section I.1 with an exponent of around 0.6. This means that, per unit of output, the cost of capital can drop dramatically for larger scale operations. An exponent of 1 would mean linear scaling is taking place. An exponent less than 1 means that the capital cost per unit size decreases as the equipment becomes larger. This concept is sometimes termed economies of scale. Economies of scale diminish when the equipment is as large as possible and multiple pieces of equipment become necessary. In 1991, NREL first evaluated the size of an ethanol plant for our standard design by looking at the trade off between economies of scale and increased cost of delivering feedstock. 7 That study compared a plant size of around 1,750 metric tons (1 MT is 1,000 kg) or 1,920 short tons (1 ST is 2000 lb) per day to one of 9,090 MT (10,000 ST), assuming an additional $2/ton transport costs for the larger plant size. In this report, we have repeated that analysis in a more rigorous way to see if a plant size of 2,000 MT per day is appropriate in the current design for converting corn stover to ethanol. I.3.1 Effect of Plant Size on Collection Distance NREL and ORNL recently completed a life cycle analysis of corn stover-derived ethanol. 8 As part of that study, researchers at ORNL used a GIS model known as ORIBUS to estimate energy demands, environmental flows and costs for collection and transportation of corn stover in the state of Iowa (Figure 3). The premise of this study was that the maximum amount of stover that could be collected should be constrained by soil erosion considerations. An analysis of the effects of stover removal on soil erosion found that, for Iowa farmers using low or no till practices and who are producing corn continuously on their land, an average of two metric tons (MT) per acre of stover can be removed without causing erosion rates to exceed USDA s tolerable soil loss limits. ORIBUS was used to estimate transportation costs for a total of 35 potential ethanol plants sized to handle 2,000 MT (2,205 ST) per day of corn stover. Though the life cycle study of corn stover-derived ethanol in Iowa did not look at the effect of locating plants of different sizes, we can use the results of this study to calibrate a much simpler analysis of stover transportation costs in order to understand the trade-offs of transportation costs and savings due to economies of scale. 7

18 Figure 3. GIS Model results showing the location of MT/d ethanol plants in Iowa For this analysis, we need to estimate the distance traveled to collect corn stover, which, obviously, increases as the size of the plant increases. We estimate the collection distance as the radius of a circle around the plant within which the stover is purchased. The area of this circle is a function of the residue that can be collected per acre, the fraction of surrounding farmland from which stover can be collected and the fraction of farmland dedicated to crops (versus infrastructure): Area collection = (D stover /(Y stover *F availableacres *F landincrops ) Where: Area collection is the circle of collection around the plant D stover is the annual demand for stover by an ethanol plant Y stover is MT stover collected per acre per year F availableacres is the fraction of total farmland from which stover can be collected F landincrops is the fraction of surrounding farmland containing crops The last two items warrant further explanation. In this simplified analysis we presume that the plant is located in the middle of corn farmland. Even so, not all of the land on a farm is available for planting crops. We assume that 25% of the land is tied up in infrastructure (e.g., roads and buildings), leaving 75% of the farm acres actually planted in corn. Thus, F landincrops is taken to be Furthermore, we do not assume that all of the farms around the ethanol plant will want or be able to participate in the collection and sale of their corn stover. Thus, F availableacres is a parameter we vary in the analysis. 8

19 Figure 4 shows the radius of collection around the plant for different levels of access to acres for collection, assuming a maximum yield of 2 MT per acre (as found in the Iowa life cycle study). 100% access represents a scenario in which all farmers are practicing no till, growing corn continuously, and are willing to sell their stover. This is a highly unlikely scenario. 50% access represents a scenario in which farmers split their land between soybean and corn production. This scenario is also not very realistic because the corn-soybean rotations will not likely permit sustainable collection at a level of 2 MT (2.2 ST) per acre. 120 Radius of Collection (Miles) % of available acres 50% of available acres 100% of available acres Plant Size (MT stover per day) Figure 4. The Effect of Plant Size on Collection Distance In the near term, the 10% availability scenario is closer to reality. Low till and no till practices do not represent a very substantial percentage of tilling practices for corn production in Iowa, or any where in the U.S.; and farmers using more intensive tilling practices will not be able to sustainably remove stover from their fields. In the future, it is very possible that farmers could be convinced of the financial, environmental and agronomic benefits of new tilling practices that lead to stover collection, but this is not a near term scenario. As a rough rule of thumb, we have assumed that plants would likely not collect corn stover outside of a 50-mile radius around the plant. For the 10% availability scenario, this 50-mile radius corresponds to the 2,000 MT per day design we have been using for our process design. Rather than using a rule of thumb to determine the limits of plant size and collection radius, it makes more sense to base the plant size on the cost of collection, which we address in the following sections. 9

20 I.3.2 Estimating Corn Stover Costs Today Collecting biomass for the plant has two main sources of direct costs: The cost of baling and staging stover at the edge of the field The cost of transportation from the farm to the plant gate In the past two years, Oak Ridge National Lab has been quantifying the cost of collecting corn stover assuming the use of existing equipment; and, more importantly, assuming that stover would be collected in a second pass through the field after the grain has been harvested. We know that such an approach will not suffice as the industry develops, but it does reflect the costs that we can anticipate for farmers collecting stover today. Furthermore, we have documented experience with such collection schemes. 9 Figure 5 shows the relative contribution of the sources of costs for stover collection and delivery, based on an analysis done by ORNL for our corn stover life cycle analysis: Total Delivered Stover Cost = $62 per dry MT ($56 per dry ST) Transport 23% Farmer Premium 18% K fertilizer 4% N fertilizer 6% P fertilizer 2% Bale and Stage 47% Figure 5. Typical Breakdown of Corn Stover Costs These costs represent a specific set of conditions that correspond to the scenario of 100% availability of acres, maximum levels of stover removal, with all costs averaged across a total of 35 Iowa facilities processing 2,000 MT per day, as shown in Figure 3. Baling and staging, at $29 per dry MT ($26 per dry ST), represents almost half the cost of delivered feedstock. The analysis includes the payment of a premium to farmers of $11 per dry MT ($10 per dry ST). This payment is above and beyond the cost of stover collection. For a yield of 2 MT per acre (2.2 ST per acre), this corresponds to a profit of $22 per acre. Informal discussions with the farm community suggest that $20 per acre is the likely threshold above which farmers would accept the risk and added work of collecting and selling their residue. Note that we have also included costs for added fertilizer requirements associated with the loss of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous contained in the removed stover. Added fertilizer costs amount to around $8 per dry MT ($7 per dry ST). Transportation cost in this scenario is $14 per dry MT ($13 per dry ST). The average costs for transportation and baling costs are somewhat inflated in this analysis because they include costs for the last plants able to collect stover in Iowa. In the GIS analysis done for the life cycle study, individual 2,000 MT per day plants were located in sequence, with each new plant located to collect the lowest cost stover supplies. The last few plants have to go 10

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